>Dear Rob,
>> Where I am with Simon is the sensibility that we're not at the planning
>> stage until lots'n'lots of people are engaged.  And then they'll be part
>> the planning, too, eh?  I've never worn that 'saviours waving the
>> at the masses' stuff.  Don't reckon it gets you to democratic socialism,
>> see.  Also don't reckon it'd be as useful an agitational banner as it once
>> was, either.
>> But that's me.
>Cheers for the support. Glad to know someone else here gets the point that
>precisely when revolution IS on the agenda the vanguard isn't...

Wise up, Rob and Simon, and read Trotsky's History of the Russian
Revolution, John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World and any decent
history of 1917.

You'll enjoy the yarn, and to your amazement you'll discover that
"lots'n'lots of people" were engaged in the bodies of dual power -- the
Soviets, and in actions throughout the cities and the whole nation.

The Bolsheviks and the other currents competing for leadership (remember
Trotsky's current was not fused with the Bolsheviks officially till the
summer) were NOT "saviours waving the programme at the masses", unless they
were intent on swanning off into the sunset out of the arena of history and
policy-making. In fact the reactionaries including of course Kerensky and
the Provo government were the ones doing the abstract saviour waving the
programme and the flag stuff -- until they got pissed off at the lack of
respect shown by the masses and sent in the same old troops as the Tsar had
used to bludgeon the workers and the peasants.

The agitational banner of the Bolsheviks was Bread! Peace! Land! -- as both
of you choose to forget for the sake of the old anarchist, syndicalist,
state-cap, Pure Socialist, no transition, no reality arguments about formal
democracy in the midst of a raging class war (petty-bourgeois failure to
see the wood for the matchsticks).

For chrissakes look around you at the insane greed and incompetence of the
imperialist governors of the world! Talk about democracy! Blair trying to
force Ken Livingstone to swear to every jot and tittle of a local election
manifesto before it had even been written -- and everyone knows that
rigidly regimented  official candidates don't hold such documents worth a
pulled hen, even if they write them themselves. Yet you duck out of the
battle to get things where they should be from the mess in which they
actually are by nitpicking at those who are slogging it out on the field
and getting covered in mud in the process. Get stuck in and help steer the
battle-waggons in the right direction, if you know so much about cause and
effect and undemocratic degeneration! Stop the rot. Don't just be "saviours
waving a programme" of Purity and Light at the rest of us!

As for the vanguard not being on the agenda when revolution is, that's
nothing but phrasemaking of the most superficial kind. Because the
bureaucratic usurpers of the Bolshevik mantle, the Stalinists, often found
themselves in such a situation (the Cuban CP backing Batista, the Russian
embassy in Nanking fleeing to Formosa with Chiang Kai-Shek, etc), but these
traitors were in no sense a vanguard, so the whole rhetorical flourish is a
case of Simon's armwaving getting so exuberant he ends up hitting himself
in the face.



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